Twenty students in California Lutheran University’s choir sang with Josh Groban in Santa Barbara on Thursday, September 5, 2019.
At the concert, choir volunteers sang two of Groban’s hit songs “You Raise Me Up” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
Director of Choral Activities Wyant Morton was contacted by a member of Groban’s management team on Tuesday of the same week and asked if he was able to provide singers for the concert.
Alexa Atkinson, a sophomore in the choir, said she was concerned for the short preparation time, but thought the invitation was part of a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”
“We only had three days of preparation for this…it was stressful but that moment going on stage proved it was all worth it,” Atkinson said.
Morton was excited for this opportunity for his students, as he believes experience is the best way to learn.
“I was very excited, first of all, I am always flattered when we get contacted to be involved in projects,” Morton said. “I was excited for the students to have this kind of an opportunity to perform and be a part of a major event in the music industry with a major artist in the music industry. One of the things in Cal Lutheran we talk about a lot, not just in terms of music but all majors and all studies, is experiential learning, and this was the perfect opportunity for students to be able to be involved.”
Juan Gonzalez, a first year in the choir, described Groban as “a really down to earth guy, really nice.”
Both Atkinson and Gonzalez were nervous before the performance, but adrenaline took over.
“It was kind of overwhelming, I was trying to calm myself down. There is something completely different when you’re actually going down the stage getting ready to perform, it feels like a rush,” Gonzalez said.
Atkinson described the experience similarly.
“Singing with Josh Groban on stage I remember I had the performance jitters. But once I walked onto the stage and it looked like I was just looking at the stars. I loved it,” Atkinson said. “It was a new feeling, it felt like I was experiencing a new type of moment. I may be changing my major to music performance.”
Groban commenced the summer tour of his eighth studio album “Bridges” on June 7 after wrapping up the sophomore, fall 2018 leg of the “Bridges” Tour with a final sold out concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
As for the Cal Lutheran choir their future events consist of a homecoming performance on Oct. 13 and their annual Christmas concert.